Attractive, interesting, creative grab bar placement? (any pics?)

jimandanne_miMarch 17, 2007

We're getting older, as are our friends who will visit, so we need to include grab bars in our tub and shower areas for safety reasons.

Where have you located your tub & shower grab bars?

What lengths have you used?

What finishes? Chrome, brushed, white, special grip?

Horizontal, vertical, or angled?

What brands?

Pictures greatly appreciated!

We will have 2 bathrooms with acrylic tub/showers, which I think limits our choice of locations. We plan to place short grab bars vertically on the drywall a couple of inches to the left of the acrylic edge on the end with the fixtures.

We'll have 2 bath tubs with tile up to the 9' ceilings. It seems like putting grab bars will ruin the look of the tile pattern just above the top of the tub.

It would be very helpful to know how you've placed your grab bars.

Thanks, Anne

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I dunno...

I'm old enough to remember when my mother's friends were all looking for 'creative' ways to store the spare roll of toilet paper.

The worse you needed it, the harder it was to find: was it in the Dolly's skirt? Nope. THe little wooden box painted to look like an outhouse? Nope. That cabinet you can't quite reach while seated? Nope. In the basket waaay up on the shelf?

Creativity doesn't always pay.

Slanted installs were reccomended by the accessiblity expert that came to my house: more accomodating for people of various heights. And you can be as creative as you like with finishes, etc.

Just be sure the darn things fall readily to hand, and are well secured.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 6:00AM
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I am remodeling two bathrooms and also am thinking about where and how to place grab bars in the tub and shower areas. I am really confused about what lengths to use.

Does anyone have photos to share?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 10:52AM
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I'm chiming in to keep the discussion going. Eventually someone in the know will provide some better info. :)
Bath design books frequently address this topic, too.

I found some attractive grab bars made by Ginger ( The chrome finish doesn't look quite so "medical" as the stainless IMO.

Also I'm planning to take photos (or make diagrams) of wall studs in bath areas before the sheetrock goes up.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 12:10PM
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I used a Ginger grab bar because they look accessible. I'm short, DH is tall, so I bought a 24 inch bar (in polished nickel to go with my faucet/shower plumbing) and placed it in the shower right by the door as you're going out. (No tub here, sorry. I don't have any pictures either.) We also reinforced a handheld shower slide bar with heavy gage copper pipe to double as a grab bar so there are two, mostly for balance. Longer is better IMO for different heights; slanted bars take up too much space and grab bars. I think a vertical placement works fine.

We even put one next to the back door so you could use it going up the stairs, which has helped a lot. I got one with an ''end'' so I could use it to hook shopping bags over and free my hands up on the way in the door.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 2:25PM
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LOL, oruboris, but I get your point!

I've seen the gorgeous Ginger bars, but they're sure pricy! But I may decide to spring for a couple for the master bath. I went to Lowes, and they have a couple that are nice looking and cost less. But the longest length in the nicer looking style (made by Moen, but not the same as what I found on their web site) only goes up to 24". Longer than that, they really looked institutional. But I did learn from their brochure that the recommended installation height is 7 to 11 inches above the rim of the bathtub.

I did a search for grab bars in Google Images, but didn't come up with any pictures of them in an attractive setting. However, I was surprised to find the link below that shows they can be gotten in several colors, so that might help camouflage them. I'm going to have to finalize my tile choices and work on the design to see how to work the bars in.

We're getting ready to do our blocking, so at least the location needs to be decided soon. Thanks for your input and food for thought!


Here is a link that might be useful: Colored grab bars

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 12:04AM
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Was searching posts for handicap toilet and came across this one. Had to install these for my mother who is very off balance (arthritis) and has taken some nasty falls. Function was utmost priority, 2nd was appearance. They have been a tremendous help to her!! The ones we bought for her have 3 large screws on each handle end. DH made sure the ones he installed horizontally at least one end of the bar was secured to a stud. Those placed vertically were placed on a stud. Didn't want them flying out of the wall should she stumble and grab one for support, or heaven forbid take a fall in tub/shower.

Where have you located your tub & shower grab bars?
In the 3/4 bathroom (shower stall only): one horizontally outside the stall she can grab to assist stepping in. Two inside the stall, one on the side wall opposite sliding doors and one on the rear wall opposite shower head. Both 24", both chrome with brushed center for better grip. (All chrome would be too slippery for her when wet.) We placed them at a height so when she's standing it hits about where her wrist bone is. We did it that way because she can readily reach over to steady herself and should she ever land on the shower floor, it's not too high for her to reach up to it either. In the full bathroom with tub we placed one horizontally between the shower head and faucet handles, closer to faucet handles (again about wrist height when her arm is hanging at her side), to assist getting in/out of tub without putting her arm in an awkward position or forcing her to bend lower to reach it. It's right at hand height. She rarely uses tub due to step over however, prefers the shower stall in the other bath. Also inside the tub area we put one horizontally at a very slight angle sloping downward toward back of tub. Should she fall at rear of tub she's got an easier reach up to the bar. That was a longer one, perhaps 30" to cover more tub area.

What lengths have you used?
14" (placed vertically on door frame for help on steps), 17" and 24" for next to toilet or bathing areas and one 30" in tub.

What finishes? Chrome, brushed, white, special grip?
Chrome with brushed mid section for grip section in middle in bath, or all brushed chrome (tried to tie into her fixtures). 14" white secured vertically to assist her with step down/up in doorway leading into family room area but that one is only about 1" thick and not sure I trust it for durability as much as the thicker ones. One 17" placed vertically on stud next to door frame leading into garage (two steps there to get to garage floor). I found the ones with matte grip areas are less slick than shinier colored or all chrome. Ones with build in grips (curves for fingers) feel uncomfortable to grab, too bumpy for someone with severe arthritis.

Horizontal, vertical, or angled?
Horizontal and angled in bath (very slight angle); vertical at stairs from garage leading into house; vertical at stairs in doorway leading from kitchen to family room (one step).

What brands?
Can't remember, all the same though. Would have to check at her house. It's almost identical to this one at HD. Got it from Menards. Prices are reasonable compared to Home Health stores. Ranging from $12 for skinny white 14" to $50 for 30" matte chrome finish.

We are about to install a handicap (higher) toilet for her in her 3rd bath (1/2 bath). I will put a 17" on the wall next to the toilet and one directly across from the toilet (facing it when using facilities ;). That way she can use the one on the side to help lower herself and one in front of her to help her stand.

Pictures greatly appreciated!
Sorry, none at the moment or I'd provide them. Hope this helps. I know aesthetics count, but honestly in this type situation and what I've seen my mother go through in recent years, safety and practicality are of utmost import in order to be able to manage in her own home. I got statistics from her physical therapist recently. Numbers are staggering. Something like 50% of seniors in ER's are there due to falls, 25% of those who visit ERs for falls are admitted. Of those admitted, if memory serves 25% are left permanently impaired, severely injured or result in death.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 11:46AM
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I put a Ginger 32" grab bar in the guest bedroom bath where my mother stays when she's visiting. It's mounted on the wall vertically where she can use it to steady herself as she steps into and out of the bath.

Elderly people are most likely to take falls in the bath while getting into or out of the tub.

If you know you're going to put in a grab bar, decide where it will be placed before the wall board goes up. Then have extra blocking put in the wall to support the grab bar anchors.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 1:04PM
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I found the name of the ones we put in at my mother's. It's Home Care by Moen (link below). They have some very nice styles/finishes at the web site that were not carried at the store I got them from. (Also, they are ADA compliant and have 500 lb weight capacity if someone has to use them to lift themselves.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Moen Home Care grab bars

    Bookmark   July 20, 2007 at 10:18PM
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We have just installed a 2 man Jetta tub and wanted grab bars for it. Since we used oil rubbed bronze faucets, I had problems finding what I wanted. A local plumbing store was going to order them for me when I found them at Lowe's. I had asked repeatedly and was told they didn't have them in ORB. Well, this is called Venetian Bronze or something like that. It is close enough. It is a Moen product and is ADA approved with a 500 pound pull capacity. They only had the 16 inch one, but I was going to check into a longer one. Thanks for the link above it has them there!

We just got this bathroom finished a couple of days ago. Now, granted this tub is not a handicap type one, but we wanted the bars for practical use now and need in the future. The small one is placed vertical on a stud at the edge of the tub. I already know that I want and need one lower.

They gutted my other bath this week and the tub/shower is being replaced with a shower that will be handicap accessible--but we are adding glass doors that can be removed later if needed. This shower will have the grab bars and I think we are going to add one beside the toilet in there. Both new toilets are the ADA higher ones and I love the one that is new to master bath.

The master bath is large enough to get a wheelchair around in, but the hall bath was very inaccessible. We found this out during the past few years as our parents health failed and we had them here for extended times. We decided to do this bath remodel Christmas when my Dad's health failed to the point that he could not remain at the assisted living. We were going to move him in with us and remodel the bath. However, we lost him in late January.

We looked at the overall picture and realized that although we have now lost all four parents, we will have a need for this at some point. So, we went ahead with the plans--just took a little more time doing it.

We also have taken out the small hall bath door and they are installing a much wider pocket door so that a wheelchair can go through it. Although I do have solid wood vanities in both baths, we decided to leave them. They will be able to be replaced with a pedestal or something more handicap assessible if needed.

I am adding a link to pics of the new master bath. You can see the bar on the right side of the front of tub. Again, it is not a tub that you would think of in this way, but wanted to share the grab bar there. We will add another one.

The shower will be much more practical and I will post pics when they finish it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 2:24AM
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Have you looked at Kohler's "Freewill" line of acrylic tubs/showers? The grabbars within the modules are built-in, as are the walls (ez to clean).

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 6:36AM
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For retrofitting these, consider using a wall anchor product called "Wing Its".

These are the best wall anchors that I've found for adding grab bars to an existing bath.

FWIW, a 24" bar mounted on an approximate 45-degree angle will span two wall studs 16" apart.

Here's a link to the Wing It website, they have a selection of straight and curved grab bars there as well.

Un Mongo

    Bookmark   July 21, 2007 at 10:03AM
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I positioned two 12" and one 24" in my shower. Overkill I guess .. except very convenient because you donÂt ever have to reach to find one. I prefer the horizontal placement ,,,,,, if someone slips, or goes off balance, your elbow might catch it and keep you from going down. I placed them such as they mimicked the placement of the glass based handles on the tile walls.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2007 at 11:00PM
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How will the bars be attached with a new tile installation?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2007 at 8:47PM
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Anyone else have pix of grab bars in their bathroom? We're planning on putting them into our remodle plan. Figured I wasn't getting any younger, so might as well plan for the future.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 4:54PM
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After spending a few days touring senior living centers with my mom, I just thought I'd add that I've seen some very nice wooden 'grab rails' that look more like trim work.

I don't have any photos to show, and can't even describe it well -- but the overall function is like a ballet barre and the look is like wainscoting. They ran these grab rails everywhere along all of the walls, and it was clear how useful they were -- I was just surprised by how attractive they looked. May not be the best application for bathrooms -- but great for a whole-house application.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 11:38AM
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Not sure if it's interesting or creative, but we were really happy with the look of our grab bar and it functions really well too.

My DH was appalled that I wanted to put a grab bar in our new bath he thought it would ruin the look, but like everyone else we are getting older and our small kids need it as well. Even DH thinks it looks okay now that it is in.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 3:16PM
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Darn! DH just finished the walls in the master bath and I forgot to mention the extra support blocks for a grab bar. Mongo, can these "Wing its" install into a stud. What about the grab bars that have a cushioned grip. Anyone use those?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 12:18AM
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